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Saudi warship returns to port after Yemen rebel attack

Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab coalition fighting in Yemen [AFP]

Date of publication: 5 February, 2017

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Saudi Arabia's al-Madinah battleship returned to Jeddah port on Sunday, after being targeted in a Houthi rebel attack while on patrol in the Red Sea last week, officials said.

A Saudi warship targeted by Yemeni rebel "suicide" boats last week returned to its home port in Jeddah on Sunday, Saudi Arabia's national news agency said.

"The frigate, which was attacked by the Houthi militia while on patrol in the Red Sea, has returned to Jeddah as planned," the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Two Saudi sailors were killed and three others wounded in the attack launched on the battleship - dubbed al-Madinah - by rebel "suicide" boats off the Red Sea port of Hodeida. 

The rebels claimed responsibility for the attack without specifying how the vessel was targeted.

"It was hit with precision after an accurate surveillance operation off the western coast," a rebel military official said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab coalition military campaign that launched against the Houthi rebels in March 2015 after the insurgents overran major cities, including the capital Sanaa and cities along the Red Sea coast.

More than 10,000 Yemenis have since been killed, most of them civilians, according to official UN figures, while some 3 million have been forced into displacement.

Meanwhile, at least 113 Saudis have been killed in skirmishes or rocket strikes along the border with Yemen since the coalition campaign began.

As a result of the attack, the United States deployed the USS Cole to the Bab al-Mandab strait connecting the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, according to a US defence official.

In 2000, seventeen US military personnel were killed aboard the USS Cole in an al-Qaeda attack in the Yemeni port city of Aden. 

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